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"to push the river"

Posted by Smokey Stover on August 03, 2005

In Reply to: "To push the river" posted by Mikko on August 02, 2005

: There's a song by Van Morrison called "You Don't Pull No Punches But You Don't Push The River". Apparently it uses to proverbs. "To pull punches" has been explained here before, the term is originally from boxing. But what does the latter part, "to push the river", mean? Doing useless job, like carrying coals to Newcastle (or owls to Athens), perhaps?

: Mikko

I don't know where Van Morrison got the phrase "push the river," but I'm sure someone will point out the source. It's not like bringing coals to Newcastle or owls to Athens, although it is a pretty useless endeavor. Have you tried pushing a river? Impossible. I'm not sure exactly how Van Morrison uses the phrase, however. Perhaps give it your best effort (don't pull punches), but don't waste your effort on the impossible (pushing a river). Dunno. SS

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